Thomson, Ga – McDuffie County – Hickory Hill dates back to about 1864, with major renovations made around 1900 by Thomas E. Watson.  The house and grounds are so special, and open to the public for tours!  I was eager to learn more about the house and families that have lived here.

Hickory Hill
Hickory Hill – July, 2018

Thomas E. Watson had an interesting political career – serving in the Georgia House of Representatives, and then both houses of the U.S. Congress.  One of the founders of the Populist party, he ran for US Vice President in 1896.  Later he was an active writer and publisher.

When Watson bought Hickory Hill and 1,000 acres (!) in 1900, the renovations to the house took a few years.  On the exterior the front portico and columns were added, and the house had a lot of “FIRST” items for Thomson – the first house in town with electric lights,  gas, and indoor plumbing.  The house had its own water and sewage plant.

Historical marker

Thomson live here until his death in 1922, and the home was vacant for a time, and had seasonal use only.  Eventually a grandson bought the home and bought back much of the furniture that had been sold in the 1920s.

1907 photo of Thomas E Watson and wife Georgia Durham Watson at Hickory Hill  (Vanishing Georgia, Georgia Archives, University of Georgia)

The house is available to visit Monday – Friday, by appointment.  For more info on the house, click here for all the details.  There are other neat structures on the property, including an 1820 Watson family log cabin moved from its original site about 3 miles away.

Hickory Hill

Thanks so much for taking a look at Hickory Hill!  Really a special setting and interesting home.


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